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3 Practical Tips on How to Live a Fun and Meaningful Life

3 Practical Tips on How to Live a Fun and Meaningful Life

Okay, show of hands: who worries about having a boring and mediocre life?

No, your life is not as boring as your grandma’s (unless you have one of those active grandmas who dance salsa on Thursdays), but you might cave in to society’s expectations, and you may have a tendency to go for “the safe choice” just so you can please your proud and pestering parents.

And so life can get a little boring. Not because you suck, or the whole world hates you, but because we live in a world where you have to take action on the kind of life you wish to lead.

Let’s talk about how you can create a more fun and meaningful life for yourself with these three practical tips.

Begin with the end in mind

Imagine that you visit the doctor’s office today and discover that you have an incurable disease. The doctor gives you six months to live—at most—and that’s being optimistic.

You don’t know what to say.

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Your mind keeps playing scenes from your life, like you’re watching a movie about yourself—only you’re not satisfied with the ending. A sea of questions swim around in your head:

  • Why do I have to die before my 97-year-old grandma? Can’t we just swap? It’s so unfair.
  • Who will show up at my deathbed?
  • How will I be remembered? What will people say at my funeral?

It’s never fun to imagine yourself on a deathbed, but it is a necessary exercise because it forces you to reflect on what’s truly important in your life. It helps you to appreciate life, clarify your goals, and most importantly, make the most of your day.

Use this exercise from one of my favourite authors to create a more fun and meaningful life for yourself, so that when the time comes, you won’t have any regrets on your deathbed.

Choose the more outrageous option

We’re constantly told to make safe decisions throughout our lives, but there are two problems with that:

  1. Fun and meaningful choices are never “safe” (that’s what makes them fun and meaningful), and
  2. “Safe” options are about as exciting as watching your grandma ironing T-shirts on a Sunday afternoon.

When given the chance, always choose the more outrageous option, and don’t let the naysayers stop you.

I’ve often been called crazy and naive by my peers, but I’m OK with that because I’ve been stepping outside of my comfort zone. I’ve lived with a host family in Barcelona, moved halfway across the world to study creative writing (yeah, you should see the looks on people’s faces when I tell them that), and jumped out of an aeroplane.

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See what happens when you make more outrageous decisions? You gain valuable experiences that you’ll never forget. You meet people who are equally or more insane than you, and as a result, you feel inspired to live a more fun and meaningful life. I dare you to start making a few more outrageous decisions on your own. Remember, you decide what’s outrageous enough for you. Your mileage may vary. My tip is to begin small and work your way up.

As you live your life this way, you’ll soon look back at your “outrageous” decisions and realise that they weren’t that crazy after all. Instead, you’ll find yourself smiling.

Befriend your fears and move forward

We learn to fear failure from a very early age. We bury our faces in shame when we fail an exam, and blush when we ask stupid questions. We think we suck when we fail to get a job. Of course, this is a recipe for disaster: it’s exactly this kind of fear that leads us to have boring and mediocre lives.

So, what can we do about it?

Fortunately, most fears are learned. They’re a product of our environment and with a little help, we can begin to unlearn them. Think back to the last time you were scared. Perhaps you had a class presentation or a job interview. Your hands and face may have been sweating like crazy and all you wanted was for it to be over, but as soon as you exited the room, the fear disappeared.

Sound familiar?

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That’s because failure is not a matter of life and death. It’s an internal struggle; a nasty voice inside your head that tells you that you’re not good enough.

The problem is that your body responds to this voice in the same way it would fight off a sabre-toothed tiger. When you take your fear for what it is (a learned behaviour that has been internalised), and ask yourself: “what’s the worse thing that could happen?” you often find that yes, you might embarrass yourself, but it’s not the end of the world.

Be proud that you did something instead. Most people never do.

Go ahead, set sail to a more fun and meaningful life

Please don’t be one of those people who stand still. If you don’t try, you’ll never move forward, and you’ll have a boring and mediocre life.

Something tells me that you’re different—something tells me that you’ll move forward one outrageous choice at a time because you know that’s the only way to live a fun and meaningful life. So go ahead, be more outrageous.

You don’t need anyone’s permission.

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You don’t need to be afraid.

You don’t need to be perfect.

But you do need to act now. Set sail, my friend, and leave the safe harbour behind. After all, you don’t want to have any regrets on your deathbed now, do you?

What are your tips on how to live a fun and meaningful life? Please leave your outrageous thoughts in the comments.


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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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